Project SEEK - Services to Enable and Empower Kids - is an innovative prevention
program serving children with a parent in prison. The program targets young children (0-11
years of age) of state prisoners who are serving a sentence of seven years or less. The
program is designed to reduce the probability that children of inmates will participate in
delinquent or criminal activities and break the intergenerational cycle of criminality.
The program has four major components: 1) Home visits 2) Advocacy and Referral 3)
Support Groups (children, adolescents and care giver) and 4) Communication with the
inmate. Intermediate objectives are: 1) to promote social competency, cognitive
development, emotional well-being, and family stability of children, 2) to improve the child's
care giving environment by a) promoting the psychological and physical well-being of care
givers, b) increasing their ability to meet basic needs, c) improving parenting practices, d)
maintaining the parent-child relationship, when appropriate while the inmate is incarcerated,
and e) assisting with family issues of reintegration to the time of inmate's release.
The evaluation of Project SEEK is through a longitudinal study using an experimental design.
A total of 215 families with 371 children are participating in the evaluation. Data is collected
at a pretest, six months after intake, and yearly thereafter from multiple sources. Participant
satisfaction data, qualitative data, and objectives/problems checklists have been collected.
Only preliminary analyses have been completed at this time. Positive trends for service vs.
control youth, are identified in increased cognitive skills, academic self esteem, internal locus
of control, lower recidivism for inmates, and significantly fewer number of times children
changed schools in the first 12 months after intake.
The annual cost of replicating Project SEEK, to serve 150 children living in 100 families is
approximately $275,000. Staff necessary are:1FTE coordinator, 4FTE project specialist,
.5FTE clerical support, 1FTE data collector. Contractual staff is needed to conduct, assist
and prepare for children's groups, in addition to staff who provide child care for Stress
Management Training. Transportation is contracted by area agencies. The cost for
replication can be reduced by serving a smaller number of families. The program coordinator
should have a Master's in Social Work with experience in therapeutic and group processes,
program development and supervision. Project specialists need a Bachelors Degree in
human services with experience in outreach programs for high risk population.
A minimum of three to five days are required for training. Training could include work in
prevention programming, home-visiting, substance abuse, working with the Department of
Corrections, working with infants, issues specific to incarceration of the family member and
cultural competence. Additional topics could be included if requested. Consultation is
available as needed for the first six months of the program. There is no minimum number of
training participants however, the maximum per session is 20. The training cost is $650 per
day plus travel cost (hotel and airfare/mileage). The cost will include one manual and